Throughout 2019, Pitchcare brought you high quality articles across all sports disciplines; interviews with greenkeepers and groundsmen at some of the country's less well known venues, plus technical articles and general interest. Here's the top ten 'most read'
Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate, an independent day and boarding school, is set in a 220 acre estate at Thorpe Underwood, North Yorkshire in rolling countryside. Of particular interest, especially to those in sports turfcare however, is QE's dedicated Sports Village, recently completed in 2016. David Mears went to investigate and met Grounds Manager Ben Grigor.
Something 'green' stirs amongst the ancient woodland of Epping Forest, as a popular multi-use golf club reaps the rewards of organically managed soil biology. Greg Rhodes interviews Chingford Golf Course's Head Greenkeeper Gary Speller to find out more about the management practices at this green oasis of Greater London.
Pannal Sports Junior Football Club is a Charter Standard Club founded in 1966. It runs twenty-three squads ranging from U5s to U18s and currently includes more than 490 players and some 100 coaches and helpers among its ranks.
Run by a small, dedicated committee of volunteers since 2007, the mission to find a place to call home after more than fifty years as a 'wandering' club is nearing its end as recontoured and prepared former farmland turns green as the prospect of year-round sport nears. Greg Rhodes went to discover more.
Left: Aaron Wilson Right: Callum Robinson
The departure of Tranmere Rovers head groundsman left the Prenton Park pitch being maintained by two teenagers - Callum Robinson and Aaron Wilson. But, as Lee Williams discovers, the two lads are both competent and ambitious to succeed.
Pitchcare stalwart Gordon Gill said that, whilst a rolling programme is very important, it is not the be all and end all in achieving the required soil bulk density; a drying profile is. When carrying out the pre-season rolling, don't just roll every day because you can - unless the temperature is 20°C plus.
Chester Football Club are currently members of the Vanarama National League North, the sixth tier of English football. The club was founded in 2010 following the winding-up of Chester City. In its inaugural season, it competed in Division One North of the Northern Premier League, following a successful appeal to the Football Association against its initial placement in the North West Counties League. Lee Williams met up with Head Groundsman Michael Barrow.
Harleyford Golf Club lies about two miles west of Marlow, Buckinghamshire on a country estate near Harleyford Manor, which dates back to the 13th century. This is where Lee Williams met up with BIGGA award-winning Course Manager Craig Earnshaw.
After an interlude at nearby Coundon Road, Coventry RUFC returned to Butts Road Stadium in 2003, back to where it was founded in 1874. Now plans are in the offing that could transform the stadium to a state of the art sporting and conference venue, complete with an artificial grass pitch. Jane Carley met Head Groundsman Eric Richardson to discuss developments.
In July 2019, James Buttler, the Cricket Badger, was joined by Gary Barwell, the Head Groundsman at Edgbaston Stadium to fight back against criticism of pitches during the 2019 Cricket World Cup. The barb that stung the most was from Mark Butcher on Twitter which read "Sorry, but pitches have been garbage this tournament."
And finally …
In October 2018, Wolves launched the Old Gold Club, a brand new podcast and video feature hosted by Mikey Burrows and Chris Iwelumo.
Pitchcare's very own John Richards, whom many of you will know is a former Wolves striker, was interviewed in January 2019. John made more than 480 appearances in gold and black, earning him his nickname as 'King John'. The club legend discusses scoring goals at the top level, training at West Park and walking up the steps at Wembley as well as much, much more.
The 68-year-old, who earnt his single England cap whilst at Wolves, talked about his fourteen years at Molineux and notching almost 200 goals.